As states struggle to keep up with rising cases of coronavirus, the federal government has been sending them much-needed supplies from the national stockpile. But according to California Governor Gavin Newsom, who is facing the third-largest outbreak in the nation, much of the equipment is broken.
Gov. Newsom took to Twitter on Saturday to explain that California has received 170 ventilators from the national stockpile, but they were all broken.
"LA received 170 broken ventilators from the national stockpile," he wrote. "Rather than complaining, we put them on a truck, drove them up overnight, and had [Bloom Energy] get to work fixing them."
LA received 170 broken ventilators from the national stockpile. Rather than complaining, we put them on a truck, drove them up overnight, and had @Bloom_Energy get to work fixing them.— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) March 28, 2020
Monday they‘ll back in LA--fixed.
That’s the spirit of CA. pic.twitter.com/y8yzsiC3Ny
“Rather than lamenting about it, rather than complaining about it, rather than pointing fingers, rather than generating headlines in order to generate more stress and anxiety, we got a car and a truck,” Newsom added in a press conference. “And we had those 170 brought here to this facility at 8 a.m. this morning, and they are quite literally working on those ventilators right now.”
Newsom explained that the state is yet to receive any ventilators from the national government. The 170 ventilators were instead sent to L.A. County.
Bloom Energy has been working on refurbishing old medical equipment in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The company has already repaired 80 of the ventilators and hoped to restore a further 120 by the end of Sunday.
Gov. Newsom's office said in a statement that California had 7,500 ventilators before the crisis. They have since added an additional 4,200, though around 1,000 of those required repair.
Ventilators are essential in treating the worst cases of COVID-19, and act as a mechanical breathing device. Experts have been warning for years that the United States faced a shortage of the devices in the event of a global pandemic, and with countries around the world looking to stockpile the machines, they're hard to come by.
"I can't find any more equipment. It's not a question of money," New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said as the state faces over 59,000 cases of coronavirus. "We need the federal help and we need the federal help now."
The federal government has enlisted the help of major manufacturing companies to produce the machines, but states are bidding against each other to acquire them.
The best way to prevent contracting or spreading coronavirus is with thorough hand washing and social distancing. If you feel you may be experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, which include persistent cough (usually dry), fever, shortness of breath, and fatigue, please call your doctor before going to get tested. For comprehensive resources and updates, visit the CDC website. If you are experiencing anxiety about the virus, seek out mental health support from your provider or visit NAMI.org.